Today's Reading - Matthew 27:11-31
Every time I read these verses I find myself wanting to interject and yell at the top of my lungs… “STOP!” I want to speak up on Jesus’ behalf and tell Pilate that Jesus had done nothing wrong. I want to tell Pilate that “The only thing He is guilty of is teaching, healing, loving, inviting, and accepting. He has come to give sight to the blind, give strength to the weak, and give life to the dead. Leave this man alone, He has done nothing wrong!”
I have such a hard time watching my Savior as He is unfairly tried, accused, and beaten in front of a hateful crowd who He loves enough to stay silent for. Jesus chose to be silent. He had every right to speak up on His own behalf. Not only that, He had the most air-tight case in the history of all cases. But Jesus chose silence, because He loved His accusers, because He loved His mockers, and because He loved you and me.
Luckily, Jesus knew and understood His purpose. Jesus was stronger than I would have been or even, if I am honest, stronger than many times I want Him to have been. My sense of justice wants Jesus to look at His accusers and do what He did so well and teach them, and tell them why He is innocent. But I sure am glad He didn’t. I am so thankful that I serve a Savior that is bigger than I am.
Jesus knew that He came to earth for such a time as this. He came to live, and love, and die for us. His purpose was greater than His pride, His love was bigger than life, and His sense of service was greater than His sense of self preservation. Jesus understood why He had to die at the hands of people who would never accept the free gift that He was dying to give them.
So, what can we learn from this? First, I think we learn that we need to figure out our purpose in life. Jesus understood His purpose and willingly went to the cross on our behalf. Likewise, we need to find our purpose, and if our purpose is something that does not outlast us then it is not big enough. If our biggest dreams for our life die with us, they are not big enough. I would even go so far as to say that if our dreams for our life aren’t intimidating to us, then they are probably insulting to a Savior who died so that we could have them in the first place.
Second, I think we can gather from these verses that a life lived for the benefit of others over ourselves is a life well lived. If Jesus is our ultimate example, then I think that it is pretty safe to say that Jesus would want us to live to exalt others over ourselves, and to live a life of sacrifice for the benefit of those around us. Jesus wants us to put others first.
Lastly, I think that we need to learn to love the unlovable. In this passage we find an obscure character named Barabbas. Now Barabbas was an insurrectionist, a murderer, and a thug. In spite of that Jesus dies in His place. Jesus took the chains, and the torture, and the cross that Barabbas deserved in order to set Barabbas free. Jesus understood that the Father has to treat Jesus like Barabbas so that He could treat Barabbas like Jesus.
One thing that we need to understand is that in the story about Barabbas, is that we are Barabbas. We are the unlovable. Jesus took those nails for not just Barabbas, but also for you and me. In the same way that Jesus loved Barabbas, you and I need to learn to love the unlovable ones in our own lives, because many times we ourselves are that very person.
Do we know our purpose, and is it God-sized?
Do we know how to put others before ourselves?
Do we love the unlovables in our lives?
Ok put down the Bible and live this week like it was your last!
by Josh Vaughan